Step into P. Lancaster Frederick’s desert cottage, and she will laugh and say, “I call it 50 Shades of Gray.” She’s painted all of her furniture in differing, complementary shades of grey and white, accented here and there with glorious shades of turquoise. Her house has the eclectic freshness of someone who is constantly creating, editing and curating life. She lives with things she loves. And she loves the work that she creates.
I met Pam a little over a year ago, and we clicked right away. I shared with her my vision for this space on the Internet and this little community, and she jumped in with both feet. She has taught me to enter into projects with sparkle and creativity– no matter what the project. She came over one day with our feathers drawn for our logo, because she felt called to create them. And she was right, she knew I had been struggling to find a connecting thread for this space. And she came offering her own work to enrich the space here. I invited her to be our first artist-in-residence and I can’t wait for you to hear from her.
What is the art project you most remember creating as a child?
I got to paint the calendar in first grade. I painted a sunset in yellow/orange and the island, on the sides, had silhouetted palm trees. And my teacher thought I was the next—whoever. I was pretty proud of it. [I was in] first grade, you know, and it was better than anybody else that drew on the calendar.
How would you describe your art to my 4-year-old niece?
I like crisp lines and color. And Auntie Pam has fun!
If you could only work with one color for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Black and white, then I could work in grey and make all kinds of color. Or, I’d use teal. My favorite color. But everything would be dark.
If you were stranded on a desert island with one artist—living or dead—who would it be and why?
My mom. Because it would be nice to be secluded with her to talk and do art. We’ve never gotten to do that except when she took a couple classes from me. But, looking at Michelangelo’s David on an island forever wouldn’t be bad, either. But if I only had one person . . . it would still be my mom.
When did you start calling yourself an artist?
I’m still trying to find my place as an artist. You have jacks of all trade . . . I’m a jack of all arts. I still haven’t made up my mind what I want to be when I grow up at 65!
Which color describes your personality—which color would be your spirit color?
White. White is love. White is energy. White is the light. And it all comes from the light.
What makes you fall in love with art?
Having it turn out. Creating something that actually looks good. And sometimes it comes really easy.
What specifically (whether it’s a person, a moment in your life, or a feeling) inspired you to start making art?
I just needed things to do. I had too much energy. I’ve just needed to be creative. It’s been there since late grade school and early junior high. It’s like I’m incomplete without creating something, making something, fixing something. You just gotta do it. It just calms me down. For a short amount of time, I’m happy. I’m in another world.
If you could paint only one thing for the rest of your life, what would be captivating enough to keep you painting it over and over and over for a million times?
Hummingbirds. Or my feathers. I like feathers. Doing one thing would get tedious and boring.
Why are feathers so significant to you?
At one time in my life, I was really down . . . rock bottom. And I just started drawing feathers. And in high school, students would ask, “Will you put a feather on my book?” I started coming up from being in the dumps by creating something for others. It went from one feather to two feathers. I realized that I am never alone, just me and the light. And since I ever made that connection, my life is lighter, brighter. My life moves up.
If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
If you could only describe yourself by one label (i.e. writer, tree-hugger, pumpkin inspector) what would that label be? Like, if we got to hand out business cards for our life, what word would appear under your name?
Probably artist. It’s such a small word for such a big idea. But that’s the creative part of me that always has to be creating something. If I don’t create, I almost get depressed or I fall asleep in my chair. I have to be making or doing something.
What do you hope people feel when they see a piece of your work?
What are your favorite art techniques to use?
Depends on what I’m making. I have a technique to figure out things from start to finish before I’ve even started. The knowledge just comes to me with something I’m supposed to be making.
I’ve made tree skirts with thousands of beads, I’ve hand painted crystals under a microscope, I’ve taught classes from making bows to serious painting—making just comes naturally to me. I also like working in large scale, I create large scale wood projects.
What makes you unique as an artist?
I get it done. A lot of people don’t. They get started and don’t know where to go. Mine always ends up getting finished.
If you could receive an art lesson from any person ever (artist or non-artist) who would it be and why?
DaVinci. He was a creator of all these crazy things. I would have some great conversations about the weird things I think about, and he would have the answers for them. And say, “Isn’t that obvious?”
Describe your work in five words.
Precise, clean, meaningful, awe-inspiring (like my crystals), good feelings.
What do you feel when you paint?
It’s like I go into the work, and it’s a challenge to do the best I can with what I’m doing. Mr. Miyagi—wax on, wax off. It’s all practice. And I try to do the best I can.
Can anybody be an artist?
Yes . . . well, unless they have no coordinations with their hands. You only get better if you practice, have someone to encourage you. And if you have an instructor, listen. If you want to do your own thing, you won’t get beyond a certain level. You need an instructor to guide and help you. The collaborative ideas make you better.
If you could paint in any one location in the world, where would it be?
Why does painting have to happen to be here on earth? I’d want to see space. I want to see what the Hubble telescope sees. And paint from that.
What are you currently doing for a living?
I’m retired, taking care of my Mom and Dad. And living a creative life working on art.
Why will people be drawn into your art?
I really enjoy encouraging others to do art. I teach classes, and I radiate creative energy that other people are looking for. The energy and the light is the center of me and my work. Whether I’m painting, drawing, cutting pumpkins out of plywood or painting them. There is a light and an energy that drives me.
I asked Pam to create pieces for Live into Beauty and she created wall hangings, including her Two Feathers, and handprinted crystals. You can see her works here.
Mary Arteche, Founder & Editor-
Mary Arteche and her family live a small life in a vibrant way in Sky Valley, California. For her day job, she homeschools her kiddos and is a nanny to her niece. For her side gig, she’s a website designing, marketing consulting, art directing ninja. She’s passionate about the outdoors and making life an adventure. She loves printmaking, hiking, photography and finding the best cup of coffee. She just completed the Yosemite Half Marathon. Really.
Shoot me an email, I’d love to talk to you! liveintobeauty (at) gmail (dot) com